Gut-directed hypnosis more effective for treating irritable bowel syndrome

Therapeutic hypnosis is an effective and safe complementary technique in surgery and the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. This is the conclusion of a systematic review by Winfried Häuser and his co-authors in the latest issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2016; 113: 289-96).

The existing evidence for the efficacy and safety of hypnosis techniques in somatic medicine is inadequate. The authors therefore systematically reviewed meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials. It emerged that hypnosis was superior to standard treatment in the reduction of emotional stress, pain, time needed for convalescence, and drug consumption associated with medical interventions. Among patients with irritable bowel syndrome, symptoms were relieved more effectively by gut-directed hypnosis than by the treatments in the control groups.

In clinical practice hypnosis is already widely used as a complement to modern, safe methods of anesthesia, particularly to minimize anxiety and stress in patients about to undergo surgery. Live or audio file-aided hypnosis can be offered. The use of audio files is also effective in functional gastrointestinal disorders. Furthermore, therapeutic hypnosis is used in dentistry.

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